Perched upon a 200-foot-high rock and towering above miles of luscious Romanian landscape, Bran Castle is one of the most gorgeous and fascinating strongholds in the whole of Europe.
Very much famous and renowned for its association with the myth surrounding Bram Stoker’s iconic novel Dracula, Bran Castle exudes Gothic charm, and has a vast and thrilling heritage, making it the perfect spot for those with an interest in history, or even just those who can appreciate some exquisite architecture and breath-taking views.
Here is everything that you will need to know when planning a visit to Dracula’s castle in Romania.
A guide to Bran Castle, Dracula’s Castle
History of Bran Castle
Bran Castle originally dates back to the year 1212, where it was constructed on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold, and the first time it was documented was in November 1377, after an act was issued that allowed the Saxons of Kronstadt, or current day Brasov, with permission to construct the citadel.
Later, between the years 1438 and 1442, Bran Castle actually served as a defensive fortress against the Ottoman Empire, before becoming a customs post on the mountain pass between Wallachia and Transylvania. However, what was different about Bran Castle in comparison to other castles in this time period, is that it was exclusively used as a fortification, and functioned as protection for German colonists in Transylvania.
It is known that Bran Castle also belonged to the Hungarian Kings for a brief period, due to the failure of King Vladislav II, who was unable to repay his debts.
In more recent history, between 1920 and 1948, Bran Castle became a royal residence, and was actually a gift to the people of Brasov city, to Queen Marie of Romania.
In addition to the castle monarchical history, it is also heavily associated with Bram Stoker, and the myth surrounding Dracula. However, what is fascinating, is that Bram Stoker never actually visited Transylvania, and instead, relied heavily on research and the power of his imagination.
Today, the associations with this iconic author and literary figure are the primary reason why tourists flock to the castle.
What to see in Bran Castle
Drawing in over half a million visitors each and every year, Bran Castle’s spookiness and fascinating history draw in so many curious travelers, and there are so many things to see, explore, and discover. Housing an abundance of weaponry, furniture and armor that dates back to the 14th to the 19th centuries, Bran Castle offers visitors a wonderful insight into the multi-layered heritage of Romania, and the plethora of residences that have called the castle home across the years.
With 57 rooms in total, Bran Castle is vast, and there an abundance of hidden corners and secrets lurking within. Upon entering the castle, you will be escorted along a narrow stone secret passage, where you will all have to travel through in single file.
In addition, there is a winding wooden staircase, as well as an enormous central courtyard that even features a cauldron. The architecture here is well-worth spending some time exploring and taking in, as even though it was fully restored in the 1980s, it has such an authentic medieval feel, that you feel truly transported back to the Middle Ages.
In addition, there are some gorgeous original features, such as arched Gothic windows and doorways, turrets, spires, and original brickwork. You can also visit ‘The Donjon’, or the main tower, where is incredibly well-preserved for its age. One of the architectural highlights of Bran Castle is the round tower, which is adorned with the red brickwork that is synonymous with the area; it towers scenically from the castle and looks exquisite.
There are also several rooms that have been renovated and are open to tourists. One of which is The Castellans’ Room, where there are several fascinating artworks hanging, and original pieces of furniture. It is also possible to visit King Ferdinand’s Dining Room, where the original beams are still visible across the ceiling.
Also, if you are brave enough, it is also possible to visit The Dungeon, though be warned, as this is super spooky!
How to get to Bran Castle from Bucharest & Brasov
Bran Castle is situated in a small commune in Romania’s Transylvania region, named Bran. The nearest train stations are Predeal and Brasov, and there are a number of ways to travel to the castle.
Bran Castle from Brasov
The closest big city is Brasov, which is situated 18 miles to the North East. It is possible to take a taxi, which will take around 35 minutes depending on traffic, and will cost anywhere between 15 and 20 Euro (be prepared to bargain); this is the same distance if you are driving independently, with a rental car.
However, the cheapest option is without a doubt the bus service that runs hourly between Brasov and Bran Castle, and costs between 1.50 and 5 Euro, depending on the time of day in which you travel. The bus journey is around 45 minutes.
Bran Castle from Bucharest
From Bucharest, you can take the train from Bucharest North (Gara de Nord) station to Brasov. The journey takes between 2,5 to 3,50 hours depending on the train.
From Brasov, you can either take a taxi that will cost anywhere between 15 and 20 Euro. (Be prepared to bargain) Alternatively, you can take the bus. Please note that the bus station is 3 km away from the train station.
The best way to get from Bucharest to Bran castle if you are not driving is through a guided tour. I personally used this option to visit Bran Castle
My friends and I chose this small group one day tour from Bucharest that includes a visit to Bran Castle, Peles Castle, and the town of Brasov (really cute) with enough time to explore everything. – Click here for more info and to book the tour.
Bran Castle Opening Hours
High Season (April 1 – September 30)
Monday: 12 PM – 6 PM
Tue–Sun: 9 AM – 6 PM
Last Admission: 6 PM
Low Season (October 1 – March 31)
Monday: 12 PM – 4 PM
Tue–Sun: 9 AM – 4 PM
Last Admission: 4 PM
Bran Castle Tickets
High Season (July 1 – August 31)
Adults: 45Lei (9€)
Seniors (65+): 35Lei (7€) (id is required)
Students: 25Lei (5€) (student id is required)
Children: 10Lei (2 €)
School groups (>20pax): 5Lei (1€)
Bran Castle is one of Romania’s must-visit landmarks. There is so much to experience and explore, and you could spend several days discovering the multitude of historic remnants and hidden secrets that are buried deep within the castle walls.